Medical examiner: Jayland Walker was shot dozens of times
Jayland Walker, the 25-year-old black man who died last month at the hands of police in Akron, Ohio, was shot dozens of times, with 26 bullets recovered from his body, according to a preliminary autopsy report released Friday.
Summit County Medical Examiner Dr. Lisa Kohler said it was impossible for her office to say which bullet killed Walker or how many shots were fired.
Walker “had several very devastating injuries that would result in death,” including injuries to his heart, lungs and arteries, Kohler said. She tallied 41 entry wounds and five gunshot wounds that grazed Walker.
Preliminary results released earlier indicated that Walker’s body had more than 60 injuries. Greta Johnson, Summit County’s communications director, said Friday it’s “highly possible” a bullet could cause several different entry wounds.
Walker had five wounds to his back, but it’s unclear whether those occurred while he was running away or if he spun around while being shot, Kohler said.
The medical examiner gave a summary of the report on Walker’s death at a press conference. The report was finalized on Thursday.
The June 27 pursuit began when officers attempted to arrest him for equipment violations. Authorities say Walker fired a shot from his car 40 seconds into the chase.
Kohler said no illegal drugs or alcohol were detected at Walker.
The medical examiner’s findings confirm that Walker, unarmed and without drugs or alcohol in his system, “died a brutal and senseless death,” said Ken Abbarno, an attorney representing Walker’s family.
At his funeral on Wednesday, Walker is remembered as a shy, kind and caring man with an understated sense of humor. Another attorney for his family previously said Walker mourned the recent death of his fiancée, but his family had no indication of concern beyond that.
A message seeking comment on the autopsy results was sent to a police department spokesperson on Friday.
The update comes a day after the NAACP made a direct appeal to Attorney General Merrick Garland for the Justice Department to open a federal civil rights investigation into the shooting death.
Police say Walker fled an attempted traffic stop for minor equipment violations and fired a shot from his car during the pursuit of the vehicle, but he was unarmed when officers shot him.
Police body camera footage shows Walker wearing a ski mask, jumping out of the front passenger door of his still-moving car, then rushing into a parking lot where police opened fire. This blurry footage does not clearly show what authorities say was a threatening gesture made by Walker before he was shot.
An unloaded handgun, an ammunition magazine and what appeared to be a wedding ring were found in the front driver’s seat of Walker’s car, authorities said.
The officers involved are on paid leave while the state investigates the shooting. Seven of these officers are white and one is black. None of them have prior disciplinary records, substantiated complaints or fatal shootings, according to the police department.
The local police union said officers believed there was an immediate threat of serious injury and believed their actions and the number of shots would be justified in accordance with their training and protocols.
Police in nearby New Franklin Township had attempted to pull over, then chased a car matching Walker’s for the same minor equipment violations less than 24 hours before the Akron pursuit. A supervisor called off the chase when the car crossed the township border into Akron.
Associated Press writer Andrew Welsh-Huggins in Columbus contributed to this report.